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Positive reputation draws teachers and families to Bryan County schools
Rachel Mock  McAllister Elementary School
Rachel Mock, McAllister Elementary School

About four years ago, the 2020 U.S. Census crowned Bryan County the sixth-fastest growing county in the nation and the fastest-growing county in the state of Georgia. These stats can be attributed to a wide variety of factors, most notably the county’s close proximity to Savannah, the region’s economic hub.

But for many families wishing to relocate to coastal Georgia, the quality of Bryan County’s school system is hard to ignore. The summer months of June and July attract dozens of new faces to the county each year, and while many current students and faculty are currently enjoying their well-deserved summer break, McAllister Elementary’s Rachel Mock simply can’t wait to officially begin her teaching career as a third-grade teacher this upcoming fall.

Originally from the Savannah area, Mock moved to Virginia with her family when she was younger, and ended up attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, where she majored in Elementary Education.

Mock told me that while at Liberty, she was able to land a student-teaching gig at McAllister during her last semester of college.

“So, at Liberty [University], you’re able to do either an internal or external student-teaching semester before you graduate,” said Mock, referring to the choice between choosing an in-state or out-of-state senior capstone experience.

“So when I figured out that it was possible for me to do it externally, I was like, ‘I’m definitely going to try and do it out-of-state,” said Mock.

In selecting her choice of school, Mock was inspired by her aunt, Laura Teague, who currently teaches Kindergarten at McAllister.

“She’s always spoken so highly about the school,” Mock said of her aunt’s glowing recommendation of McAllister Elementary and Bryan County Schools overall.

“It’s seriously true, the school is just amazing,” Mock said. “The environment’s just so positive, like it doesn’t even feel like you’re going to work.”

Mock says that her time as a student- teacher (5th grade) was challenging but “rewarding”, since she was able to put into practice all the things she learned in her college classes, as well as gain hands-on teaching experience in a real school.

“It’s just so different [student-teaching], like it’s not something you can just rehearse or practice,” explained Mock. “In college, you learn how to write lesson plans and you talk about classroom management but I was able to put it all into practice [at McAllister].”

Being thrown head-first into teaching as a college senior may seem daunting, but Mock says that she had great support from Heather Tucker, current principal at McAllister Elementary as well as Teresa Caldwell, a fifth-grade teacher at McAllister whom Mock was paired up with during her student- teaching. “I really appreciate her [Principal Tucker] having me; without her I wouldn’t have this opportunity,” Mock said. “And Mrs. Caldwell was great, she truly went above and beyond for me, I appreciate her so much.”

Looking ahead to the fall, Mock believes that her work as a full-time Bryan County Schools employee will undoubtedly mirror her positive experiences as a student-teacher.

“Everyone truly cares about each other here,” Mock said.

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